India Red-Earth

By William J. Furney

Thick, sticky, iron clay

Binds, on the beach, into farmers’ muck.

This ancient, yogic, blazing land leaves an indelible stain,

And the blithe interloper wonders if they’re in the succulent, iridescent realm of their dreams — or entirely out of luck.

Vibrant, sari-woven women sway like swans in what relief-giving breeze there is;

Their indolent spouses lay indulgently and childishly on the dust-swept floor of their street-stall clothing stores, dozing disgracefully in the high-afternoon heat as infants glare, wild-eyed, at the spectacle of it all. (Everything, to them, is a New World adventure, and they’re not sure if they approve at all.)

Cattle weaving through the crazed, broiling street; people (me) running in them; the world’s end.

India Red-Earth: bovine is fine, but humankind is grime.

And Caju Feni cashew liquor: does it make you really bicker?

Why whine, when you can have all the wine, in India, at least? Jeevan Palyekar [pictured, above] — seller of wine, Caju Feni and just about any kind of liquor of your choice — dips his head in humility and answers his age: 40.

Young-looking and nearly middle-aged, the eager husband and and father speaks from his Vagator, Goa, shop and laments the passing of the tourist season.

But to imbibe Caju Feni he has every reason.

Cheap, available respite from the burden of life; in some ways, it’s like a second wife.

India Red-Earth: Hard to stand but elixirs exist.

Dissolving, transfixed into a mesmerizing, black-eye universe where space-warp gravity has no hold and so time does not exist;

Together, we are losing ourselves and and and finding, discovering, a whole new, virgin world, unbridled, revelatory, the real-life placeyouwereseeking. Nowyougotthere, whatcha gonna do?

Long Earth-minutes stretch on languidly by and still we hold and embrace and stare stare stare: our eyes polar-opposite magnets unable to tear.

India Red Earth: Emotions rising, climbing, overcoming, overpowering, reaching a peak; falling. Until nothing is left but a tear. Rise up. Fall down. Nothing, really, is gained by a loss of

— Do I need to say it?

— Do you need to hear it?

— Can you just pass me on by?

Desires, passions, careable times fade, almost as soon as they appeared; andyouwonder: were they ever really there?

On the Hill, they dance in the madness until the stark light of dawn and have no care for the day at all.

India Red-Earth: Stuck in a clump.

  • Photos by William J. Furney

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